Alfonso Cuarón Keeps His Mexican Heritage Alive In Everything He Does, Like Oscar Greats Guillermo Del Toro And Alejandro Iñárritu
Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón comes from a rare breed of artists that achieve both commercial success and critic acclaim. With just eight feature films under his belt, Cuarón has done it all: comedy, a sexy road trip movie, a Dickens adaptation, a children’s movie, a Harry Potter film, brainy science fiction, and now an intense and beautiful memoir, Roma. Cuarón won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and for Best Director at last night’s Golden Globes and we couldn’t be prouder. Here are 21 facts about this once wonder boy turned established auteur.
He is one of the Three Amigos.
Along with fellow Mexican directors Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu he has taken Hollywood by storm. They have all won the Oscar for Best Director.
He often collaborates with family.
He co-wrote the script for Y tu mamá también with his brother Carlos. The best: he co-wrote the Oscar-winning script for Gravity with his son Jonás. Qué chingón.
He inserted Mexican elements into the world of Harry Potter.
Yes, when he took on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban he decided to include elements such as the sugar skulls you can see in the candy shop. No better way to proudly showcase our culture in a global market.
He just loves the color green.
Since his debut film Sólo con tu pareja he has shown a predilection for green hues in props and sets. In Mexican film circles, they call his palette “verde Cuarón”
He keeps going back to Mexico to shoot.
Many expat directors in Hollywood never go back to their home to shoot a film in their mother tongue. Not the case with Cuarón, who has kept a healthy split between English and Spanish in his work. Gael Garcia Bernal is another entertainer who is using his name to better entertainment in his home country.
He is known for his elaborate long takes.
He is famous for offering us mind-blowing long takes that just make no sense but look miraculous. Case in point: that amazing space ballet in Gravity (see above image).
He has a close creative partnership with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.
With Lubezki he has created some of the most beautiful images in recent cinema. Lubezki wasn’t available to shoot Roma so Cuarón shot it himself rather than working with someone else.
He put his career on hold to care for his autistic son.
After 2006’s Children of Men, Cuarón took a long break to properly become a cargiver for his son, who was diagnosed with autism. La familia primero.
He is part of the CUEC generation.
He studied film at the Centro Mexicano de Estudios Cinematográficos in Mexico City. This school has a very unique style influenced by European cinema.
10. He has won it all…
Oscars, Golden Globes, Golden Lions… you name it. There mustn’t be a single spot available on his mantelpiece!
He is an avid cinephile and it shows.
He often includes homages to his favorite films. In Roma, there is a clear reference to Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2.
Roma is his own life but told from a different perspective.
He has often said how Roma truly gave him the freedom to delve deep into his own childhood. What is amazing is that he didn’t do it from his own perspective, but rather from a gaze that was silenced because of class dynamics at the time.
He owes everything to his nanny, Libo.
Many middle-class Mexico City families rely heavily on domestic workers for emotional labor as well. Libo, who is now a lovely old lady, was Cuarón’s inspiration for the character of Cleo. Their relationship echoes the experience of many Mexico City natives.
He has made some of the best literary adaptations in the history of cinema.
He is great at directing his own material as well as literary classics such as The Little Princess, Great Expectations, J.K. Rowling’s world and Children of Men, a sci-fi nightmare written by PD James. He has a rare talent that allows him to make the material his own while respecting the spirit of the original.
He even made Charles Dickens sexy!
Ethan Hawke painting Gwyneth Paltrow como Dios la trajo al mundo. Bring las sales right now! And that kiss by the fountain, tender and so romantic. He made Dickens be part of the 1990s grunge, emo and banal cultural zeitgeist.
He inserted a whole bunch of pop culture references in Children of Men.
Did you notice the Pink Floyd imagery all over apocalyptic London? Well, that is not a coincidence. Just look at this pig balloon casually parading on the background.
And even critiques to the Bush presidency.
In some of the scenes in Children of Men we can see images that clearly reference the abuses committed by the U.S. in countries like Iraq, where navy personnel took photos of prisoners while they abused them. Alfonso is a very meticulous artist and nothing in his films is aleatory.
He defends the Netflix model…
He thinks that the best way for a movie to be released is in multiple exhibition windows. He released Roma in selected cinemas and then on Netflix. Guess what? People keep watching it on the big screen!
Roma is a true one-man show.
He wrote it, directed it, edited it, and shot it. Ah, and he was the producer. Esas canas se llaman Roma! To be honest, even though film production can be a nightmare he looks quite happy doing it judging from this picture, o no?
He speaks out against injustice.
He uses his fame and stature among Mexican intellectual elites to speak out against crimes such as the massacre of 43 students in Ayotzinapa. In his Mexican films, he often mentions how the powerful take land from peasants, as is the case of Cleo’s mom in Roma.
His next project…..
There are not many details at the moment other than the star will be the controversial Casey Affleck…. sounds intriguing. We wonder how Cuarón will deal with the sexual harassment allegations against Affleck. We can also guess that it will be a Netflix movie and that Cuarón will continue to explore the limits of film exhibition. Venga!